The Illini Bluffs ladies and boys each had success | Techi Fowl

GLASFORD – A giant week awaits the Illini Bluffs basketball groups.

The boys squad is No. 1 seed within the Inter-County Athletic Convention event, which is able to play within the semifinal in opposition to ROWVA/Williamsfield at 6 pm on Thursday. On the ladies’ aspect, the Tigers journey to 17-win Elmwood for a tip-off Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a meet that may assist decide the ICAC champion.

Two juniors – Hank Alvey and Lily Luczkowiak – bear a big a part of the duty for the success of those two applications from Glasford, a village of lower than 1,000 folks positioned about 20 miles southwest in Peoria.

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Gradual begin and into overdrive

Luczkowiak is as constant a participant as they arrive, exhibiting off his scoring prowess virtually each evening. The 5-foot-10 ahead scored 30 factors in final week’s loss to Midwest Central/Delavan. His 24-point efficiency helped give IB the event title on the Monmouth United Event. He averaged 19.3 factors a sport in 4 video games on the Beardstown vacation event, incomes all-tournament staff honors because the Tigers completed fifth.

“It is not stunning,” IB ladies coach Jim Belville mentioned of her breakout season. “He is our star participant, our go-to offensive weapon but it surely’s a staff effort.”

Belville credit Luczkowiak and his junior-heavy staff for benefiting from a curler coaster varsity expertise. As freshmen, they performed a pandemic-shortened spring 2021 season, then went on a full season as sophomores in 2021-22. IB went 20-13 final season and has gained 11 straight after a 1-4 begin within the Macomb Event.

This season is about to final – beginning 1-4 because of a tricky Macomb slate adopted by a 12 sport win streak.

“They actually must undergo the gauntlet with the season we have had and the tournaments we have had,” Belville mentioned. “We’re a seasoned staff and we’re nonetheless studying.”

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Protection has been key for the Tigers (16-6), permitting 32.8 factors per sport. Luczkowiak, Tinley Lemmerman, Annabelle Fortin, Reese Cruit and Marissa Robertson mixed to carry opponents to 30 factors or much less 10 occasions this season.

Seven of these got here throughout a dozen-game profitable streak from late November via the tip of December.

“We’ve the flexibility to close (groups down),” Belville mentioned. “That is what acquired us on our profitable streak. You do not have to exit and rating 60-70 factors each sport – it stops different groups.

Success is nothing new for this group of Tigers both. Virtually each member was part of the IESA 2018 Class 3A seventh-grade state champion, which completed 25-1.

Replicating that postseason run and profitable a regional — IB reached a Class 1A sectional remaining in 2020 — together with continued development and constructing staff chemistry.

“We all know we will do the issues we need to do if we put within the work,” Luczkowiak mentioned.

From Glasford … to Champaign?

Whereas the ladies are comparatively excessive, the IB boys have confirmed to be one in all, if not, the highest Class 1A groups within the state.

Actually lengthy, really. IB (16-3) — a college of about 250 youngsters — boasts a beginning lineup of 6-foot-9 Alvey and 6-foot-5 Brandon Coats together with a trio of 6-foot-3 gamers in Wyatt Hendel, Devon White and Toby Cooper.

“Anyone can rating on our staff,” mentioned Alvey, whose staff averaged 59.2 factors per sport. “That is what we use. No one must drop 20 (factors) each evening for us to play properly.

“There’s not one man who retains us going.”

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However the soft-spoken ahead led IB in scoring, rebounds and assists. Sure, it helps in a sequence of occasions. His measurement helps him have a greater view of the ground, permitting him to seek out an open teammate when double or triple-teamed within the put up.

IB coach Clay Vass preached to Alvey that drawing consideration to the protection requires him to be a harmful passer for the great of the staff.

“Your passing is what makes folks extra concerned with you,” Vass mentioned when he instructed Alvey in regards to the potential future of faculty basketball, “as a result of not too many huge males move such as you.”

Alvey added, “I’m a staff participant. I am not the one one I am centered on. I am centered on getting the opposite particular person the ball after they’re open. That is what I am making an attempt to enhance. “

When guys like Coats and White can rating, Alvey’s job as a passer is made rather a lot simpler.

White had a game-high 19 factors in Saturday’s win over Athens, whereas Coats matched Alvey for a game-high 14 factors in Tuesday’s opening-round ICAC event sport.

“We simply really feel like now we have quite a lot of the correct mixture of issues to go ahead,” Vass mentioned, “and to make some noise, not solely this time of yr however hopefully within the postseason.”

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IB final raised a regional plaque 5 years in the past.

The purpose now’s to take that journey a couple of steps additional. Like filling the State Farm Middle with orange and black-clad followers on the March state finals.

“We’re simply making an attempt to get to Champaign,” Alvey mentioned, “and convey some {hardware}.”

Adam Duvall is a sports activities reporter for the Journal Star. E mail him at Observe him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.

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